Aaaaah the eternal dilemma of the book reviewer staring down a review of the final book in a series – how do I do this without spoilers? Rising, the final installment in Bronwyn Eley’s dark #LoveOzYA fantasy series, The Relic Trilogy is out TODAY, and I was lucky enough to get my hands on an early (free) copy thanks to the lovely team at Talem Press. I’m going to share the blurb for book one in the series (Relic) so that you can get a feel for the series in general, and then you can get more info about this book, Rising, on the Talem website here.
In the city of Edriast, there is no deadlier duty than to serve as the Shadow.
As the personal servant of the powerful Lord Rennard, the Shadow’s life is all but forfeit. Rennard possesses one of five rare and dangerous Relics – a jewel that protects his bloodline, but slowly poisons everyone else in its proximity. When the current Shadow succumbs to its magic, nineteen-year-old blacksmith Kaylan is summoned to take his place.
It’s an appointment that will kill her.
As the time Kaylan has left ebbs away, hope begins to fade… That is, until she discovers a plot to destroy all five bloodlines in possession of the Relics.
A rebel force plans to put an end to Rennard’s rule and Kaylan suddenly finds herself embroiled in a cause that might just be worth fighting for. But no cause is without its costs…
As her life hangs in the balance and rebellion bears down on Edriast, Kaylan must decide where her loyalties lie – and how she’ll leave her mark on the world.
Sounds delicious right? I really enjoyed this series so much – I’ve popped links to my reviews of the first two books at the end of this post. I think RELIC did a great job of introducing us to Kaylan and the rest of the cast, setting the foundations for the story to unfold. RIVEN expanded the world outside of the city of Edriast into the broader world, and we really learned a lot more about the Relics in terms of their mythology and magic, and I loved that we experienced that alongside Kaylan. Now, in RISING, Eley takes Kaylan (and us!) straight into the battle she has been setting up for in the previous two books.
This is definitely one that doesn’t work as a standalone – Rising starts with us in the middle of Kaylan’s quest and I found it pretty unrelenting in terms of action for probably the first two thirds of the book, with almost every move super high stakes. That’s not to say there aren’t moments that are quieter, but the focus is definitely on the action. There isn’t a lot of world building, or character development in this final installment – which worked perfectly well for me, as I feel like it was done so well already. The exception to this was the Relic and its magic, which are kind of their own character in this one. I enjoyed seeing Kaylan get to know more about the magic and how it could be used.
I think I have said this in my previous reviews, but I think Kaylan makes a great protagonist – I like that she is something of a reluctant hero throughout her story, and that we get to see the difficulty she continues to have with accepting her role. She spends a lot of time shifting between doubting herself and fearing her magic, and I enjoyed seeing this back and forth play out. I think this is something Eley really nails across her cast of characters – I love that no one is really all good or all bad, but rather they are influenced by their circumstances at the times they make decisions. This kept me thinking about the characters motivation – and suspicious of their loyalty – all the way through.
I have to say, without giving anything away, I thought this was a satisfying and clever end to the trilogy – we have all had series we’ve read where the ending has fallen short, but I really think this was a fitting end, and in the same way her characters are nuanced, I like the careful “not all good not all bad” ending Eley gives them in wrapping this up – it really felt true to the spirit of the series.
If you’ve read RELIC and RIVEN then you’re going to want to read this – and be prepared for a few tense (sad!) moments! If you are a YA fantasy fan and haven’t picked up The Relic Trilogy yet then I recommend it as one to check out!
Rising (The Relic Trilogy Book III) by Bronwyn Eley
Out now from Talem Press
Source: Free ebook provided by Talem Press for review (thank you!) All views are my own.
Category: Dark YA low magic fantasy adventure with a twist of dystopia